Author:  Jonathan Humphrey - 31 May 2022

Kia Sportage PHEV, the best of both worlds

The All-New Kia Sportage already has many fans and the Sportage PHEV is now finding many more.

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The Sportage PHEV now gives you a decent 43-mile electric range and the convenience of a regular car with its 1.6-litre T-GDi engine. Currently, Kia has no plans to offer a fully electric Sportage. However, they do already have quite a few award-winning electric cars on offer, EV6, Niro, and Soul. They pretty much all have all bases covered. In 2021, over 32% of Kia’s sales came from electrified models.

The All-New Sportage is now available in eighteen different model variations: petrol, diesel, mild-hybrid, full-hybrid, and plug-in hybrid. You are really spoilt for choice; it’s all about which spec would fit your driving needs best. Kia recognises the fact that for many, the first step is more than likely to be a hybrid rather than fully electric.

This All-New Sportage is designed for the European market developed for our roads and has just the right charming styling to attract. The PHEV is available in 4 grades GT-Line, GT Line S, 3 and 4. The cars are built in Slovakia at Kia’s green-powered factory, and notably, Kia has now become the leading car seller in the UK.

The model tested, the All-New Sportage PHEV GT-Line S (plug-in hybrid), has a fully electric range of 42 miles and a top speed of 87mph in electric-only mode. This PHEV can help you economise and really make use of the EV capabilities before calling on the assistance of the engine. With the increasing fuel costs in these crazy days, the benefits of PHEV do stack up.

At the car’s launch event, I drove the All-New Sportage PHEV on a 55-mile route from towns to villages on A roads, B roads, motorways and stuck in heavy traffic. Without even trying, I achieved 120mpg and got to my destination with around 10% battery range left. Fully charged on shorter trips, Kia’s figures claim up to 256.8mpg.

The high-performance nature of this Sportage makes it a real fun to drive SUV. Handling is sporty with 261hp; with all the electric kit, it is pretty nippy with 0-62mph in 7.9 secs. Overall it is heavier than the standard petrol Sportage, but the solid 350Nm torque on offer makes driving pretty flexible and very comfortable on longer runs. Steering response and cornering stability are improved with a new Kia’ e-handling’ system that adds a form of torque vectoring to the PHEV. When turning in, the electric motor acts as a subtle ‘brake’, transferring load forward, increasing the front tyres’ grip and improving driving agility. Out of a corner, the motor adds a slight boost to acceleration, shifting load to the rear of the car, increasing grip from the rear tyres and enhancing stability.

The electronic all-wheel-drive in wet weather is very welcome. There is a sport/eco mode switch to assist in preserving charge and mud/snow/sand modes for optimal assistance in offroad or slippery situations.

The battery is low down in the chassis, improving the overall balance and increasing space inside the car. Low emissions are the name of the game and with just 25g/km and zero when running in EV mode.

As the battery power becomes depleted, mpg will reduce as the engine takes over, but the confidence to go long distances without range anxiety is still a winner. If you want to stop and charge, the efficient onboard charging system 7.2kW takes only 1hr 45minutes.

On the road, it is clear the New Sportage is quite a looker, the styling is fabulous and inside, it’s spacious and comfortable. The interior is full of tech, slightly futuristic even, with a sweeping panoramic dash layout consisting of two curved 12.3inch screens. It is somewhat intimidating at first glance, but once seated and more familiar with it, the whole system is obvious and intuitive. The user-friendly layouts can easily be personalised, keeping the information you want at your fingertips.

The great-sounding in-car entertainment system on the top-spec models is by Harmon Kardon, with apple carplay or android auto included. There is 15w faster charging for mobile phones and not forgetting some of the most fabulous folding cup holders in the business.

Cars have a funny habit of just getting better, generation by generation. A global best-seller, the All-New Sportage, now in its fifth generation, was originally launched as long ago as 1995. All Sportage models have sold well, the last model did very well and it seems Kia have excelled themselves with this model. This latest PHEV will be chosen by many buyers of mid-size SUVs entering the world of hybrid and electric for the first time.

Also, buyers don’t forget this is the most business-friendly Sportage ever, with BIK as low as 8% for the 22/23 tax year, while its competitors sit at 12%.

Combined with the transferable seven-year warranty and it’s easy to see why the Kia Sportage is an outright best seller in the UK and around the globe.

Author Rating 4.6/5

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